Looks like this blog of mine is only getting annual updates, so I better start writing more. Incidentally, this is partly what I want to talk about in this post – updating websites and the effect it has on their performance in the long run.
But to start off, a word on what I’ve done and what I’ve learnt in the past year since my last post. I continued buying websites on Flippa throughout the year and it’s been an experience with ups and downs. Here are my takeaways:
- Google is extremely unreliable
- Updating a website regularly is absolutely crucial
- Sell websites at their peek
- You cannot target the same niche with more than one site using the same Adsense account, server, and anything that can be tracked down to the same owner
If it was not clear before, you cannot rely on Google for traffic at all. Your website may be getting 2,000 unique visitors a day for months, then crash down to 200/day in a week, and that’s normal. You may do all the right things and it will happen anyway. That’s a fact that I’ve learnt to live with and accept it.
Does that mean you should forget Google and use entirely different traffic acquisition methods? No. Websites that live off advertising haven’t got much option, especially if they are Adsense sites. It’s a lot different if you sell something, but I’ve been focusing on Adsense sites. Thus, accepting Google’s tricks is something that you just have to live with if you’re in this business.
And it brings us to an interesting point. If Google traffic is so unreliable, it does kind of make sense to sell your websites when they’re at the top, and let someone else worry about Google. It has increasingly been my experience that as I’d bought more and more sites, it felt like I was, in fact, the one taking that burden upon my shoulders. Most of the time it had proved to be true.
So if you are able to build websites and build traffic, you’re in business, and you don’t have to worry about Google while still making the best of it.
Updating a website regularly is indeed crucial and it takes a lot of time. So if you have a dozen sites or more, you pretty much need a full-time staff to handle them all. Because essentially any site has to be worked on full-time if it was to keep growing. That’s one more reason to sell.
Over the year I have learnt a lot by buying a lot of sites and now it’s time for me to jump the fence and start selling. It makes sense to keep the best of your sites to yourself while they’re growing, but it makes no sense to hoard them. My portfolio has expanded too quickly to a point where sites started to die off due to neglect. And that’s not good at all.
Build. Grow. Sell. Repeat.
And the final takeaway is that Google doesn’t want one owner messing around in one niche with more than one site. Though the evidence is anecdotal, I have very strong suspicion to believe this to be true. You see, when you find a good niche, the first thought is scaling and putting as many sites out there as possible. And when after doing that only one site survives, and when it happens repeatedly in different niches up to a point of getting penalties across the board except that one site, it doesn’t leave much room for further speculation.